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Settlement Funded School Buses Roll Out To Arizona School Districts

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey promised $38 million from a settlement with Volkswagen to buy new buses for Arizona school districts.

The first round of awards was recently announced — 142 new school buses will be rolling out to 55 Arizona school districts.

The Kingman Unified School District will receive 10, the second highest award after the Washington Elementary School District which is getting 11 buses.

Kingman Superintendent Roger Jacks says the district’s oldest buses have been on the road for more than 20 years and count more than 100,000 miles.

“Our buses don’t just stay on the pavement, they’re out running on gravel roads, so that’s hard on buses, a lot of vibrations,” Jacks said.  

The district’s fleet of 70 buses covers more than 3,000 square miles.Jacks says the district was able to replace about 20 buses last year.

“It will help us from a cost standpoint,” Jacks said, citing the decreased maintenance requirements of new buses. “It will help us from a reliability standpoint. 

New air conditioning in the buses is another benefit for the district’s 7,200 students who start school when temperatures can exceed 100 degrees.

The Miami Unified District, which serves students in rural eastern Arizona will receive one new bus.

"Receiving a new bus will mean that we can retire a bus that has high mileage and has aged out," said Superintendent Sherry Dorathy in an email. "However, we still run the older buses as we have limited funds to purchase new buses."

Mariana Dale rustles up stories as a senior field correspondent based out of KJZZ’s East Valley Bureau in Tempe. She’s followed a microphone onto cattle ranches, to the Dominican Republic and many places in between. Dale believes in a story’s strength to introduce us to diverse perspectives, inspire curiosity and hold public leaders accountable for their actions. She started at KJZZ on the digital team in 2016 and still spends a lot of time thinking about how to engage with our community online. Dale has learned from stints at Arizona Public Media, The Arizona Daily Star, The Arizona Republic and as an intern at NPR’s Morning Edition in Culver City. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Dale is grateful for the mentoring of the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, the Chips Quinn Scholars program and AIR’s New Voices Scholars. A desert native, she loves spending time outside hiking, tending to her cactus and reading.